The Urbanist

Knock on wood

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Cover art for The Urbanist

18 June 2015

Episode 192

26 minutes


Photo: Matthias Rhomberg

We discover the world of luck and fortune in our cities, from how architects apply the Chinese philosophy of feng shui to their work to a district thought to be so lucky that it was named Boa Sorte ('good luck' in Portuguese). Plus, we look at superstition in Catholic Italy and visit the rather unlucky tornado town of Moore, Oklahoma.

18 June 2015

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Chapter 1

5 minutes

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Chapter 1

Boa Sorte district in Brazil

Cover art for The Urbanist

We visit the state of Rio de Janeiro where one district in the town of Cantagalo is considered so lucky that it’s called Boa Sorte (“good luck” in Portuguese). We find out if it rings true to its name.

5 minutes

Chapter 2

5 minutes

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Chapter 2

Feng shui and urban planning

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The idea behind feng shui is to harmonise everyone with the surrounding environment but how do we do that in our modern cities? We discover how to apply the ancient Chinese philosophy to our homes.

5 minutes

Chapter 3

3 minutes

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Chapter 3

Author Holly Bailey on the unlucky tornado town of Moore, Oklahoma

Cover art for The Urbanist

Luck and fortune begin where control ends and there are few things we have less control over than the weather. The city of Moore is unluckier than most as it has been hit by 10 tornadoes between 1998 and 2015. Holly Bailey, author of “The Mercy of the Sky” speaks about extreme weather and urbanism in Oklahoma.

3 minutes

Chapter 4

5 minutes

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Chapter 4

Spinning on the bull in Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

Cover art for The Urbanist

Superstitions in Catholic Italy are known to run deep and if confronted Italians of all ages will admit to following at least one of the many rituals locals use to ward off bad luck. In Milan, one curious practice involves a local landmark and the tradition has even been taken up by visitors in need of a bit of good fortune.

5 minutes

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